Top 10 Reasons Sarah Palin’s “Outrage” is Misplaced and A Little Late…

It took only a few moments with Google to demonstrate that David Letterman was hardly alone in making jokes about Bristol Palin’s pregnancy. I didn’t even think of searching for jokes about the younger daughter, but it turns out there have been some by other comedians. As all of these jokes are in poor taste I didn’t really want to be the first to post such a collection, but Shannyn Moore has now posted such a compilation at Huffington Post:

Top 10 Reasons Sarah Palin’s “Outrage” is Misplaced and A Little Late…

10) Last September, a skit on Saturday Night Live suggested incest in the Palin family. “What about the husband?” asked a mock Times reporter. “You know he’s doing those daughters. I mean, come on. It’s Alaska!” No outrage. Sarah Palin appeared on the show one month later in late October.

9) Days after the announcement of Bristol’s pregnancy, Conan O’Brien joked, “It’s true, John McCain’s running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, has revealed that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant. Palin said, ‘We should never have introduced her to John Edwards.'” Where was the outrage? Was Conan promoting infidelity with an underage girl?

8 ) From two different Tonight Shows: “Governor Palin announced over the weekend that her 17-year-old unmarried daughter is five months pregnant. Oh, boy, you thought John Edwards was in trouble before, now he’s really done it!” AND…”All the Republicans are heaping praise on Governor Palin. Fred Thompson said, as an actor, he could see them making a movie about Sarah Palin and her family. Didn’t they already make that movie? I think it was called ‘Knocked Up!'”–Jay Leno

7) Craig Ferguson’s skit of “Larry King vs Levi Johnston” asks about “kinky sex” with the drapes open. Craig Ferguson’s honorary Alaska citizenship, granted by Governor Palin wasn’t rescinded.

6) “According to expense reports, Sarah Palin charged the state of Alaska over $21,000 for her children to travel with her on official business. In fairness to Gov. Palin, when she leaves them home alone they get pregnant.” –Seth Meyers (SNL). Sarah Palin was in a sketch with Meyers a week earlier.

5) On October 8, 2008, Sarah Palin walked out on the ice with six year old Piper and 13 year old Willow, before the game, Conan O’Brien said, “Saturday night, Sarah Palin is going to drop the first puck at the Philadelphia Flyers’ hockey game. Then Palin will spend the rest of the game trying to keep the hockey players out of her daughter’s penalty box.”
Oh, yes he did. You get the outrage…but not a peep then. According to the new “logic”, O’Brien was advocating for some really sick stuff.

4) Rush Limbaugh: “Everyone knows the Clintons have a cat. Socks is the White House cat. But did you know there is a White House dog?” Limbaugh put up a picture of Chelsea Clinton. At the time, Chelsea Clinton was 13 years old. Rush also said, “In last year’s campaign, the most prominent, articulate voice for standard run-of-the-mill good old-fashioned American conservatism was Sarah Palin.” Calling a young teenager a “dog” can’t be helpful to her “self-esteem.” Where is the apology from the leader of the GOP?

3) “Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno.”–John McCain, Sarah Palin’s running mate. Should McCain apologize to every young woman in America?

2) Palin’s friend, political defender and informer of the David Letterman comments, John Ziegler, was fired from his radio show for using the “n-word” online and on air in 1997. In 2000, he was fired for spelling the “n-word” on the air. How much does that word affect the psychological health of America’s youth, regardless of their race? Now he is pimping his film about how mean the “liberal media” was to Sarah Palin.

AND…The NUMBER 1 REASON Sarah Palin’s Outrage is Misplaced and A Little Late…

1) The “candidate who must be obeyed” was talking about Palin’s family when he said, “Kids are off limits.” Jake Tapper of ABC News interviewed then Candidate Obama, and asked, “Governor Palin and her husband issued a statement today saying their 17-year-old daughter Bristol, who is unmarried, is five months pregnant. Do you have any reaction?”

OBAMA: “I have said before and I will repeat again, I think people’s families are off-limits. And people’s children are especially off-limits. This shouldn’t be part of our politics. It has no relevance to Governor Palin’s performance as a governor or her potential performance as a vice president. And so I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories. You know, my mother had me when she was 18. And, you know, how family deals with issues and — and, you know, teenaged children, that shouldn’t be the topic of — of our politics.”

The Palin children have been fodder for comedians since they were brought to the national stage. Incest isn’t funny. Ugly kid jokes aren’t funny. Many of the things said about public figures are just flat wrong. Being “knocked up” isn’t much fun. Racist comments hurt all of us. I exhausted the top 10 list before I ran out of outrageous instances ignored by the Palins.

The National Organization for Women named David Letterman to their Hall of Shame. Will Letterman be joining Jay Leno? Conan O’Brien? Craig Ferguson? Seth Myers? Rush Limbaugh? Or John McCain? Of course not! I guess N.O.W. didn’t bother checking Sarah Palin’s “feminist” credentials. All across America, right wing radio and television talk show hosts feigned outrage in perfect synchronicity. The same people who back up Palin’s high drama assertions against Letterman ignored the connections between Bill O’Reilly’s irresponsible incitement and the murder of Dr. George Tiller. David Letterman, a late night entertainer, apologized. Fox New’s Bill O’Reilly has not.

As a parent, I understand being defensive. I just wonder what took so long. Why now?

Why now? The answer is simple. The right wing “outrage” has nothing to do with feminism and certainly nothing to do with jokes about Palin’s children. The right wing blogs were attacking Letterman over a Sarah Palin joke after Monday’s show before they realized they could attract more attention by falsely claiming Letterman was joking about Palin’s minor daughter as opposed to Bristol Palin. While Letterman’s joke was clearly about Bristol, other jokes above were not. While Letterman’s latest joke was about Bristol Palin after turning 18, and after she has been appearing in public speaking about her pregnancy, it is also notable that the above jokes were at the time about Palin’s 17-year-old daughter.

While the jokes were in poor taste, as even David Letterman admitted, they hardly deserved the attention they received–unless the attackers have other motives for their attacks. This controversy is just another in a long string of examples of how the authoritarian right opposes freedom of speech and desires to silence anyone who disagrees with their reactionary agenda, and lying about what others have said is a frequent tactic which they employ.


  1. 1
    nal says:

    I wonder if these attacks on Letterman are some kind of payback for his treatment of McCain during the campaign.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Probably not specifically re McCain as many of the right wingers involved don’t even like McCain. McCain is far too moderate for them. It is more retaliation for what they see as Letterman’s liberal bias as they note every joke he makes about a conservative and ignore all those he makes about Democrats.

  3. 3
    Wayne says:

    While I agree that Palin is going overboard on this, in response to the comment at the end of point 9 “Where was the outrage? Was Conan promoting infidelity with an underage girl?” I have to ask how much research into this list did Shannyn Moore do? A simple google search on “Alaska age of consent” would turn up a large number of hits indicating that the age of consent in the State of Alaska is 16, meaning that Bristol Palin was NOT underage when she got pregnant.

  4. 4
    Izabelle says:

    For those with any class, politicians’ kids are off limits, until or unless they are actively engaged in the public arena – as politicians, flacks, or so forth. Most of the jokes mentioned in the Huffington Post piece are very poor taste. For old school liberals like myself, it’s not about freedom of speech. Obviously you cannot pass laws against comedians telling jokes, but advertisers do have choices about how to represent their products. Basically, Johnny Carson would never have used jokes like this and was ten times funnier than Letterman. Johnny had class. 

    Being an old timer, I have been a little confused about how Letterman could have been referring to the 18 year old, not the younger girl. Wasn’t the younger girl in Yankee Stadium?     

  5. 5
    Ron Chusid says:


    Note that these jokes are from a variety of comedians, not Letterman. It makes no sense to attack Letterman, especially as he is the one comedian who told such a joke and later stated he should not have done so. We have no way to know if Johnny Carson would have told similar jokes as he is not around.

    This issue is about freedom of speech, not about jokes about politicians’ kids. It would be a different matter if they showed a consistent response to all jokes about children but they are only attacking Letterman. The attacks on Letterman from the right wingers started before they even knew about the joke about Bristol Palin. They just latched on to the joke about her, lying to claim it was about Willow, to give their politically-motivated attacks the appearance of credibility.

    The joke about a daughter getting pregnant was about the daughter who had actually been pregnant and the subject of similar previous jokes. At the time of the show it was not known who was actually at the game, and that really didn’t matter. His joke on a daughter at the game was a joke, not a news report, and was not intended to be factually accurate.

  6. 6
    Ron Chusid says:

    By the way, in case anyone cares, the IP number shows that “Izabelle” has the same IP number as a right wing troll who spreads right wing talking points while referring to himself/herself as a liberal. Previous comments displayed a blind hatred towards David Letterman.

    “Izabelle” isn’t alone in doing this.There were also a tremendous number of other anti-Letterman comments which were signed with different names from the same IP address.

  7. 7
    Izabelle says:

    Ron, nothing I’ve ever posted on your blog has ever expressed a particular ideological viewpoint. Apparently, I must be a right-winger because I called for transperancy in the Chrysler case and then called out Letterman for making a joke that anyone logically would have thought was directed at the 14 year old, given the particulars. That is why Letterman apologized to Willow Palin in the show taped for this evening. 

    In your “about” section, you state that you are a pragmatic liberal who supports individual liberties and free market principles. That’s cool. I’m a clasical liberal who probably supports many of the same things that you do, except I will criticize people all over the spectrum.  Why would you screen and/or delete criticisms of the Auto Task Force and David Letterman? That only makes sense if you my main motivation is partisan, not a “liberal values” project. 

  8. 8
    Ron Chusid says:

    You certainly have a strong tendency to twist whatever is said.

    The joke was clearly about Bristol, which Letterman said yet again in his apology which is to air tonight. He did not apologize for telling a joke about Willow.

    I have not deleted any criticism of the Auto Task Force but I did note you were distorting what I was saying in your replies. I do make a policy of screening out right wing smears (and occasionally some smears when they come from the left)  such as your false claim that Letterman made a joke about Willow, along with your other attacks on Letterman. This is about basic honesty and fairness, not about any partisan motivations.

  9. 9
    Ron Chusid says:


    I’ll assume you are right about the age of consent but I’ll forgive Shannyn Moore on this one. Regardless of the age of consent, age 18 is still a major dividing point. Note that in his explanation to air tonight Letterman points out that before telling the joke about Bristol Palin he made sure she was over 18 (as opposed to checking whether she was over the age of consent).

  10. 10
    Marc "Armed Liberal" Danziger says:

    Ron, I think your premise is flawed; by your standards, Ziegler should have gotten a pass on using the n-word because rappers use it, and because it was used for hundreds of years by racists without criticism. Bad behavior isbad behavior, and playing Twister to keep claiming it’s OK because a favored ox was gored is just kinda unseemly.

  11. 11
    Ron Chusid says:


    Your analogy is seriously flawed. You are comparing Ziegler to other types of people. This compares Letterman to other people in exactly the same situation. When other late night comics have told jokes which, by the standards by which Letterman was attacked, were even worse, it raises the question of why they are targeting Letterman.

    Bad behavior is bad behavior but that is not the issue. Nobody is saying its OK. Everyone agrees that the jokes are bad. Letterman has taken time on the air twice now to say he shouldn’t have told the joke. The question is why Letterman is being singled out and whether we should put up with a smear campaign from right wing extremists whose main concern is stopping criticism of Palin.

    We also know that the attacks came from people who were targeting Letterman even before the Bristol Palin joke and the attacks are based upon lies as to what Letterman said. There is no relationship between this situation and Ziegler–beyond the fact that Ziegler has become one of Letterman’s loudest attackers.

  12. 12
    Brent says:

    I think I’ve figured out who Izabelle is. “nothing I’ve ever posted on your blog has ever expressed a particular ideological viewpoint.” No viewpoints, just promoting stupid right wing arguments. First it was the claims that Chrysler dealerships were being closed based upon political party and now its the claim that Letterman’s joke was about a 14 year-old. Then you make the untrue statment here that “That is why Letterman apologized to Willow Palin in the show taped for this evening. ” Nobody believes your claims to be a liberal when all you do is repeat right wing lies.

  13. 13
    Jack Sass says:

    Top 10 Reasons Sarah Palin's “Outrage” is Misplaced and A Little …

  14. 14
    Jack Sass says:

    Top 10 Reasons Sarah Palin's “Outrage” is Misplaced and A Little …

  15. 15
    Mark says:

    Are we suggesting what Letterman said was acceptable?

  16. 16
    Ron Chusid says:

    Nobody is suggesting that what he said was acceptable. Even Letterman has agreed that it was unacceptable and stated so twice in rather unprecedented responses to the controversy.

  17. 17
    Vince says:

    Hey Ron, this top ten list is fantastic. I wish Palin would just disappear into obscurity, but she just won’t go away.  Hopefully this latest mis-step will get her one step closer. Seems that the Republicans are realing from their declining support, Just today another affair scandal for the party ins SC.  You can post this to our site and link back to your site. We are trying to create a directory for top ten lists where people can find your site.  The coolest feature is you can let other people vote on the rankings of your list.

  18. 18
    Fritz says:

    Ye Gods, can’t people even figure out how to anonymize their IP addresses when they play those games?    It’s a sad lot of trolls you are getting these days, Ron.

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